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Piracy Wireless Networking

Boston College Says Using WiFi Is a Sign of Infringement 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-cords-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Boston College has a funny idea of what constitutes copyright infringement. It has a list of what might be called 'you might be a copyright infringer if...' with the sort of things you might expect, such as using file sharing programs or sending mp3s to friends. But some have noticed something odd. Included on the list is using a wireless router in your dorm. Yes, just using a wireless router. Not using it for anything. But just using such a router is considered a sign of infringement. Nice to see our top colleges and universities teaching students completely made up things."
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Boston College Says Using WiFi Is a Sign of Infringement

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  • by Adambomb (118938) * on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:07AM (#35676634) Journal

    As far as I can see, all Boston College is doing is making sure people are aware that others using their wap can make them look responsible for any infringement as the owner of the wap. This basically reads as "secure your router from others" or as "don't say we didn't warn you if that defense fails", not as "don't use wireless routers at all".

    i suppose journalism just isn't fun these days without ignoring context.

    • by jhigh (657789) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:15AM (#35676684)
      I read this the same way that you did, and I think that Boston College is being very responsible. Downstream liability is something that far too few people are familiar and, particularly on a college campus, many times the desire to help out your friends by leaving your wireless wide open trumps common sense. I find it laudable that the college is trying to draw attention to the fact that this could lead to potential legal trouble for the individual sharing wireless access, should other users engage in copyright infringement using it. Journalism? I heard that died years ago...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2011 @08:37AM (#35677216)

        "many times the desire to help out your friends by leaving your wireless wide open trumps common sense."

        I think you've got it backwards, the desire to help out your friends by sharing your wifi IS common sense. The paranoia and fear that large corporations and their lawyers will descend on you and destroy you for helping your friends is antisocial. Fear of antisocial litigation is the disease that is traumatizing our society.
        I am not saying that it is unjustified fear but look at it this way, if you are a decent social person and share your wifi with your friends/neighbors and you get a takedown notice or worse for it, the corporations have exerted their power over you. If you never share because you fear such repercussions, you have already lost, you have no power of your own and the corporations have complete control of your life, and your thoughts.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The problem there is that your "friends" will gladly use your WAP to infringe copyright and won't even say, "sorry dude" when you get hit with an infringement suit. If your "friends" could be trusted to not cause problems for you then having open wireless (or at least wireless with the password shared among your "friends" would be a lot safer. Today it isn't.
          • Why would an (in)secure router be any of Boston College's (BC) business? It isn't a service to spread around false notions. If your router is properly secured, few will have enough knowledge about how to break into it and do you wrong. Remember, they were telling them to forget having a router (and, how does a dorm room with more than one student share their internet connection between their desktop, their wireless printer, their laptop, their wireless PS3, their smart phone, etc., without a router?). T

          • by Redlazer (786403)
            You have shitty friends.
        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @09:39AM (#35677858)

          The paranoia and fear that large corporations and their lawyers will descend on you and destroy you for helping your friends is antisocial.

          If you let every stranger borrow your gun, you are likely to get in a heap of trouble. If you let every stranger drive your car, you are likely to get a heap of tickets. If you sublet your appartment to strangers, dont act suprised when you get the bill for their property damage.

          Why do you expect it to be so different for wifi?

          • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @10:22AM (#35678344)
            Lending out firearms vs. allowing people to use an internet connection are not parallel scenarios. Are Starbucks or public libraries criminally liable for what people do on their wireless networks? Hell no. If somebody walked into a hotel, picked up a courtesy phone and made a death threat, would the hotel be liable for having a courtesy phone? Of course not. Public access does not always equate to public liability, especially when it comes to communications.
            • by rgviza (1303161)

              Actually they _are_ parallel scenarios, and are a lot more parallel than you are considering. What if your friend downloads kiddie porn or tries to hack NSA through your connection. Now you are a pervert terrorist hacker and the FBI is beating down _your_ dorm room door in the middle of the night (not your buddies), putting a black bag over your head, kicking your ass, and hauling you to a windowless basement in some classified location to be interrogated. Do you REALLY want to go there?

              Eventually they'd fi

              • If somebody is going to try to hack the NSA, they have the skill to break the trivial encryption on wireless networks too. So what does that mean? No wireless networks ever? Live in fear? Fuck that.

                There have already been cases where people have deliberately planted CP on some schmuck's PC to try to frame them as a sex offender. Framing people (deliberately or incidentally) is hardly a new phenomenon, and the justice system will be forced to adapt to these new expressions of it effectively.

                If somebody
          • Because, with a little finagling, I can claim common carrier status for wifi, even as a college student?

            The problem here isn't lose of life or property damage. The problem here, aside from the usual "unauthorized users, who may not be a part of the college" excuse, is that they are looking for someone to sue, and subpenaing a student's router is an extra legal expense.

            Wouldn't it all just be easier if everyone had static IPs, and they could just send SWAT to pick you up at the address of that registered IP?

            • Wouldn't it all just be easier if everyone had static IPs, and they could just send SWAT to pick you up at the address of that registered IP?

              It's called ipv6, and we'll have it pretty soon. Should make life easier in a number of ways, sadly will also give the IPP (Imaginary Property Parasites) a leg up.

            • by BronsCon (927697)

              Of course! DHCP does stand for Designed to Hide Child Pornographers, afterall.

          • by Quirkz (1206400)
            And yet, if you let strangers borrow a screwdriver, a cup of sugar, your lawnmower, a paintbrush, a book, a pencil, or any of a million other things, there's absolutely zero chance that you'll ever have any problems at all (other than maybe getting the item back, or the lawnmower being out of gas when you next want to use it). Selectively picking 1) a weapon, and 2) an extremely expensive licensed item, and 3) a dwelling that you pay a deposit on as examples is going to skew expectations. You'd need to demo
          • by gambino21 (809810)

            Why do you expect it to be so different for wifi?

            It's different for wifi because there is no opportunity for physical damage. A car or a gun can actually kill someone or cause damage to a person or physical property. A wifi connection cannot be used to cause any physical harm.

            If I sublet my apartment, I am taking into account a risk of damage. And believe it or not, some people would be willing to accept the risk of property damage in order to help a fellow human being. If I want to help out my neighbours by sharing my wi-fi, why shouldn't I be able t

          • Do you really mean to draw an analogy between access to information and access to a deadly weapon?

        • Reading your comment, I noticed words like "social", "share", "friends", and -even worse- "helping" and "thoughts".

          Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?
          Are you now or have you ever been enrolled at a "liberal" arts institution?
          Can you name persons who influenced your thoughts or might harbor similar ideas?

      • by dachshund (300733) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @08:51AM (#35677358)

        many times the desire to help out your friends by leaving your wireless wide open trumps common sense

        It's amazing to me that, as a society, we've reached the point where statements like this seem reasonable.

        I spent the other day visiting a well-known Ivy-league University that offers 'free' Wifi for guests --- provided the guests are willing to enter a complicated password that changes every day and click through some enormous ToS screen.

        It occurred to me that this University was one of the first to stand up for the ideals of free speech, press and religion --- within a mile of where I stood, people had been imprisoned and shot defending these ideals. You would think that a place with such a storied history would understand that the massive /benefits/ of open (even anonymous) communication and that these benefits would trump whatever minimal edge-case risks there are due to copyright infringement, malware, etc.

        (At least, these principles should trump the actual benefits of locking down everyone's Wifi network, a policy that seems to have a negligible effect on copyright infringement, malware, and the occurrence of bad things on the Internet.)

        But that's not the society we live in, and this is certainly not the University it once was. More to the point, once you start saying things like 'unsecured Wifi access points are terrible' you need to start giving reasons. Is there really a security threat here that can't be dealt with using modern network isolation techniques. And to the same point, does locking down the residential network really stop the bad guys? Can't this mostly be worked around by someone who's willing to plug into a Cat5 jack located in a public place?

        Or is all of this hyperventilating really all about protecting yourself from being wrongly accused of some not-very-important crime related to the transference of bits?

        • is all of this hyperventilating really all about protecting yourself from being wrongly accused of some not-very-important crime related to the transference of bits?

          There are worse things that can be downloaded through open networks, and I don't know about you, but I don't want any of that stigma attached to me. Accusations of such things have ruined peoples' lives.

          I'm not saying that you shouldn't trust your friends, but why not just give them the password to your properly secured network rather than risk a war driver downloading stuff on your connection?

          • by gambino21 (809810)

            is all of this hyperventilating really all about protecting yourself from being wrongly accused of some not-very-important crime related to the transference of bits?

            There are worse things that can be downloaded through open networks

            LOL, you can download worse things than bits? Please give an example of something you can download other than 'bits'.

          • I think the idea that mere "Accusations of such things have ruined peoples' lives." is nothing but a reinforcement of GP's point: our society has gone to hell in a handbasket.

            History has clearly shown that without free and anonymous speech, you won't long have a free society.

            I keep my wifi router open, on purpose, for that very reason. An illusion of "security" is not worth real loss of freedom.
            • I don't think it's just modern society that works this way. If for example 300 years ago people got wind that you might be a pedo or homo (and assuming their society was against these things), you'd probably end up having to move. These days though, with the internet and sensationalist media, there's a good chance that you will be harassed whatever you do.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Sadly, there's a quite large difference between anonymous speech and speech that gets pinned on the wrong man. If I put an anonymous note in everyone's mailbox most likely no one will be blamed. But if I use someone's WiFi, that person is likely to be blamed. The University is no better off, if they shield their users they catch the whole shit storm. Perhaps if most people wanted it, but reality is that most people want there to be some shade of gray where people are so mostly anonymous and left alone, but

        • by tchdab1 (164848)

          I'm assuming this is in the USA, where corporate liability trumps usage for the common good, because they have more money to affect legislation and their legislation reflects their needs and reality. If I were to say it's time to stand up and take it back, we would be straying too far from this topic and into politics.

        • by mcmonkey (96054)

          It occurred to me that this University was one of the first to stand up for the ideals of free speech, press and religion --- within a mile of where I stood, people had been imprisoned and shot defending these ideals. You would think that a place with such a storied history would understand that the massive /benefits/ of open (even anonymous) communication and that these benefits would trump whatever minimal edge-case risks there are due to copyright infringement, malware, etc.

          (At least, these principles should trump the actual benefits of locking down everyone's Wifi network, a policy that seems to have a negligible effect on copyright infringement, malware, and the occurrence of bad things on the Internet.)

          But that's not the society we live in, and this is certainly not the University it once was. More to the point, once you start saying things like 'unsecured Wifi access points are terrible' you need to start giving reasons.

          Because that WiFi is a natural resource which just grows out of the earth without water or fertilizer.

          Oh wait, no it doesn't.

          Do you also complain the same university doesn't have someone on every corner handing out free printing presses? How about cell phone service? Do you expect free service (to go along with the free phones available everywhere) on campus?

          Securing Wifi access points is not a free speech issue.

      • by Albanach (527650)

        Downstream liability is something that far too few people are familiar and, particularly on a college campus, many times the desire to help out your friends by leaving your wireless wide open trumps common sense.

        Isn't interesting that ISPs are excluded from downstream liability. Colleges appear to be mostly excluded from downstream liability. Yet if you run an open access point to freely share bandwidth you have paid for, you risk losing the shirt off your back in lawsuits.

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          That is the difference between practice and theory. In theory you are not liable for actions of others, and in theory you are assumed innocent until proven guilty. In practice you might be liable for the actions of others, precisely because you are assumed guilty until proven innocent.

          *) this of course only applies in countries with a rotten legal system

          • precisely because you are assumed guilty until proven innocent.

            Thats not quite accurate; if they are pointing the finger at you, it is because they have evidence that A) illegal activity occurred at your [dorm | library station | house], and B) you were at said location.

            You can argue that thats not enough, but to imply that there isnt some evidence is just incorrect. RIAA has had evidence; its just been bad evidence. And you will note the difficulty in actually getting a conviction with such bad evidence; all of the RIAAs wins have basically been either people who we

            • by Carewolf (581105)

              You can argue that thats not enough, but to imply that there isnt some evidence is just incorrect. RIAA has had evidence; its just been bad evidence. And you will note the difficulty in actually getting a conviction with such bad evidence; all of the RIAAs wins have basically been either people who were guilty and perjured themselves into a corner (Tenenbaum), or people who were guilty and also... perjured themselves into a corner (Rasset). Nothing prevents you from falsly accusing your neighbor of somethin

            • "... if they are pointing the finger at you, it is because they have evidence that A) illegal activity occurred at your [dorm | library station | house], and B) you were at said location."

              You are proving to everybody that you have no idea what is really going on.

              Have you followed any of the lawsuits over copyright infringement? The only "evidence" that they have had has often been only an IP address, and they have used very questionable methods to even get those. And IP addresses have nothing to do with "you", at all. It is only the address of a machine. And address that can change or even be spoofed by others.

              And yes, the "recording industry" has, by and large, been losing their cases

              • You are proving to everybody that you have no idea what is really going on.

                And you proved that you didnt get past the first line of my post, to where i stated "it may be bad evidence....", or where i stated

                And you will note the difficulty in actually getting a conviction with such bad evidence; all of the RIAAs wins have basically been either people who were guilty and perjured themselves into a corner (Tenenbaum), or people who were guilty and also... perjured themselves into a corner (Rasset).

                Theres some kind of irony in claiming I need a clue, and then arguing for the very thing I stated in my post due to readingfail.

                • "And you proved that you didnt get past the first line of my post, to where i stated "it may be bad evidence...."

                  The first line of your post? Obviously you are having trouble reading your own post.

                  The "first line" contradicts everything you wrote in the rest of your post. That's not a readingfail on my part, it's a writingfail on yours.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          No, it is not interesting. You can get the same protections by following the same laws as the ISPs (Section 512 of USC 17):

          (i) Conditions for Eligibility.—

          (1) Accommodation of technology. — The limitations on liability established by this section shall apply to a service provider only if the service provider —

          (A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network who are repeat infringers; and

          (B) accommodates and does not interfere with standard technical measures.

          Now, if you you can show how you notify and cut off users of your open wifi network, you get the same protections.

          • Easily done. You flash a typical Hot Spot software into your cheap router with an initial intercept page and a huge EULA in it threatening dire consequences for "piracy" etc, then you allow free access after people register with some made up user ids and passwords.

            You can also set up a web server facing the other way with a form for DMCA complaints so that the big media (in theory) can ask to cut of particular users.

            Now this probably would fail, because as many pointed out, the law in North America is has

            • by bws111 (1216812)

              I see. So your bright idea to supporting this on an 'open wifi' is to make the wifi not open (if you require userids and passwords it isn't open, regardless of what the actual over-the-air protocol is doing).

              Next, I assume this is present day we are talking about, so IPV4 is still what is being used. You do own the block of addresses you are handing out to your users, and you are logging who was using what address when, right? I mean, you're not so dumb as to be using NAT are you (because that makes all

              • I see. So your bright idea to supporting this on an 'open wifi' is to make the wifi not open (if you require userids and passwords it isn't open, regardless of what the actual over-the-air protocol is doing).

                It is open if the user ids and passwords are accepted from all comers as soon as you register them, very much the same way IRC is still open even though you need to register you nick/password on most channels.

                Since there is nothing tying you personally (other then your MAC address) to the completely a

                • by bws111 (1216812)

                  I did not paste the entire law, I assumed people would be smart enough to look it up on their own. The phrase 'not interfere with standard technical measures' is defined in the law as:

                  Definition. — As used in this subsection, the term “standard technical measures” means technical measures that are used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works

                  It has nothing to do with NAT. Also, I did not say you couldn't use NAT, I said it would be stupid (because it substantially harms your ability to identify the infringer - see below).

                  There is another whole section of the law (h) that deals with the service providers responsibility to disclose to the copyright holder

                  • that deals with the service providers responsibility to disclose to the copyright holder information that can be used to identify the infringer when subpoenaed . If you have a way to identify the infringer that does not involve keeping logs, good for you. However "must have been some unknown person using my open wifi" is not going to go very far in giving you safe harbor.

                    I actually I did not say there would be no logs, only that the law does not list them as a requirement by name. I would have to log logon

      • by Zerth (26112)

        They should put a line stating "owning a computer connected our network may allow others to own your machine and share illegal material through it, giving the appearance that you are the guilty party."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is the sort of mentality that makes Richard Stallman turn in his grave, and he isn't even dead!

        The desire to help your neighbour is a virtue, not a vice. Start thinking about the problematic aspect of file-sharing being not users' 'piracy' but the War on Sharing, in which greedy industries interfere ever more insidiously with people's natural desire to share things with those around them, including in this case network access.

        I admire people who make a deliberate point of leaving their routers open, an

      • Though it can be read that way, it is stupid to even conceive adding that to the document, for it just puts fear in the student body and lacks any real merit--of which the student body would wrongly judge.

        The point is that wireless routers can be locked down. Wireless routers are everywhere in almost all homes and businesses. There's no need to tell them not to have one because it leads them to draw conclusions that are NOT realistic.

        They should have prefaced it with the fact that the router should be secu

    • by techsoldaten (309296) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:19AM (#35676718) Journal

      The reporter does a fine job of pointing out the actual context. Slashdot is the group making accusations of absurdity. BC has edited the page to remove the point about wifi already.

      What I really want to know is why universities think they need to be involved in a discussion about copyright protection anyway. I know they are targets of the predatory RIAA and this is a CYA move, but one might think Boston College would be above the fracas, have a clear and accurate understanding of the law, and inform people appropriately. This sounds like off the hip advice from an older systems admin with no understanding of what copyright really means in an online context.

      • by Adambomb (118938) *

        The reporter uses the exact quotation of

        So why is Boston College telling students that simply using a wireless router is a sign of infringement?

        in the article itself. The submitter merely latched onto it blindly.

        As to your other point i entirely agree.

        • How does a student at BC use their smart phone, wireless PS3, their laptop, their wireless printer without a router? Having one makes them a target of the campus authorities policing infringement? How about the fact that most students share a room and have friends over for gaming sessions? Even if they did modify/remove it, the implications are/were the same--false stereotyping that wireless router users are probably guilty of copyright infringement.

      • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:56AM (#35676950) Journal

        What I really want to know is why universities think they need to be involved in a discussion about copyright protection anyway.

        Probably because due to intense lobbying by the MPAA et al., in the Higher Education Opportunity Act the federal government included stipulations that schools receiving federal money adopt certain procedures regarding copyright infringement and file-sharing. See, e.g., http://www.educause.edu/Resources/Browse/HEOA/34600 [educause.edu].

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Even if the "using wifi" is misreported in tfs, I think the "sending mp3s" is just as stupid, or more so. MP3s are how indie artists get their work heard; unlike MAFIAA bands, who have radio. Maybe things have changed since I was in school (I'm a geezer), but if not, there are a LOT of students who are musicians,

        Hopefully, any kid smart enough to go to college is smart enough to know it's all rank bullshit from the MAFIAA, who are pulling this evil shit as a move against their competition -- the indies.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)
        Sounds like a funny case of miss-wording. I had to go through a workplace harassment online course a few months ago, the unfortunate wording was:

        The following can be considered forms of sexual harassment:

        Groping
        Pinching
        Any unwanted contact
        Unwanted advancements
        Sending email
        Bullying
        Spreading rumors

    • You're right in that it's a failure in proper journalism, though I think Techdirt or Slashdot make that their mission.

      Also, the example in the screen shot doesn't even tell the student to secure their router in any plain terms. If that's what they meant, then they failed in clarity. The BC page has been cleansed of that line entirely, it seems to me that they could have re-written it better instead, because it is a potential liability, whether or not we like it.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Most colleges don't want personal wifi equipment anywhere on campus anyway. Too easy for them to be misconfigured and interfere with the wireless channel used for their own wifi. Being vague just prevents them from saying no twice.

    • This is just a badly laid out webpage, so that the section about the risks of having an open wireless router is listed alongside examples of what may be copyright infringement. Anyone with half a brain would realise this. But I guess stirring up a fuss about absolutely nothing is a surer way of getting your story on Slashdot.

    • It isn't just that - the university I attended allowed direct access to a number of expensive journals from their network - opening this up via a wifi router would not only infringe copyright, but also compromise the security of the university network.

      • by Entropius (188861)

        The university that I'm at (research I state school) allows a similar thing, but also allows such direct access from their public campus wifi.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      i suppose journalism just isn't fun these days without ignoring context.

      I read this as "...without ignoring facts.".
      Coincidentally equally true.

    • by rgviza (1303161)

      Ironically as of this writing, that line has been removed. I had started to state that the article was wrong til I saw the snapshot of the page taken earlier.

      They were right tho. If you have a wireless router, and others download stuff through it, you will get blamed for it. You may walk away unscathed but you'll have to defend yourself and that costs money. Your connection = your responsibility.

      They were doing their students a favor by informing them of how that works. It's too bad it's gone because that a

  • Ears or Eyes open is a sign of infringement too. All college staff to keep 'em closed from now on. Students can keep them open 'cause they're already infringing due to presence of router etc
  • It's a sin (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by kmdrtako (1971832)

    But all will be forgiven if you go to confession.

  • And, it's gone now (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LocalH (28506) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:15AM (#35676690) Homepage

    http://www.bc.edu/offices/help/security/copyright/illegalexamples.html [bc.edu]

    I love how websites fall over backwards to wipe out things like this, as if it never happened. If it weren't for the screenshot in the linked article, I'd have thought that whoever submitted this was an idiot.

    • by AaxelB (1034884) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:28AM (#35676782)
      Also, there's Google's cached version [googleusercontent.com].

      But regardless, I'd probably remove it, too, since there's a huge, unreasonable, internet shitstorm over nothing. Yes, their example is oversimplified, but it's intended for the average college freshman (not always the brightest tool in the shed). It's also an example of things they would be wise to avoid, not a rule. If you don't know how to secure your router, it's probably best not to set one up in your dorm room.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday March 31, 2011 @07:28AM (#35676786) Homepage Journal

      Nah, the submitter is still an idiot. The original screenshot shows the original text, where it's obvious they're talking about sharing your Internet connection with others being risky because those users might commit copyright infringement with it appearing to be coming from your system.

      "* Using a wireless router in your room; others may share illegal material through your router, giving the appearance that you are the guilty party."

      Basically this story ought to be pulled. The wording could be better, but the college's advice is actually good advice.

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)
        Why is the campus allowing students to put their own WiFi routers on the school network, anyway? I mean, I might be biased because part of my job is to work on a product designed to detect that and alert administrators so they can shut it down (complete with pretty maps of where the device is).

        But I was under the impression that unauthorized wireless on your network was Widely Considered a Bad Thing. (What, do the students have a third-party internet connection or something??)

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          That's my assumption of why it didn't give instructions on securing your router. They wanted to present it as just another reason not to have one at all.

        • Campus networks and corporate networks are really, really different animals. I used to work in a major university's IT dept. In the first place, the network is always considered compromised. Perimeter security (which has been an outmoded paradigm for at least a decade anyway) isn't even bothered with as theater. Unlike a corporate network, there is no standard build/image for the students' systems, no OS standards, no patching standards, no guaranty of access or efficacy of group policy, etc. It's a hodge-p
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          Why is the campus allowing students to put their own WiFi routers on the school network, anyway?

          When I was in college, you weren't permitted to install any router or hub in your room, wireless or wired. Only one computer per room access port. Of course it happened anyway. You'd only get caught if the RA noticed and ratted you out. Actual audits of IP-MAC associations only occurred at the end of the year unless a problem was detected.

          Surprisingly, when the RIAA came knocking, they disavowed having logged any such information, though it was quite possible they had stopped and deleted the previous record

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Well yes, but it's also under a heading with "Examples of copyright infringement" and clearly the implication is that "if you do as in one of the bullet points here, you're violating copyright law". In no way is it an offense for you to run an open router, even if others do as described in the example. The advice also doesn't actually say open or unprotected or anything like that either, it just says don't use wireless at all. So it's both flawed and misplaced, but I agree it looks more like sloppy handiwor

  • From what I can tell, it looks like Boston College has noticed that they're on Slashdot. The bullet point example of using a wireless router has been removed already. Though the third point (Emailing copies of a copyrighted song to all of your friends) is still bogus. Who the heck emails copyrighted songs these days? For that matter, who still uses email?
  • It seems the wireless router item was removed from the site. Guess it's not such a sign, after all....
  • Boston College has redacted that text now. It's fairly obvious what they actually meant was that having an UNSECURED wifi network could make it easier for OTHERS to infringe and leave you looking guilty. But the way they wrote it was ambiguous.
    • by himself (66589)

      The IT staff at B.C. (disclosure: my alma mater) is very clueful. For example, I was up there two weeks ago for a regional higher-ed event called Security Camp that they hosted, and their speaker was as current and savvy as the other speakers (who included a Senior Auditor from UMass, a guy from Harvard, and someone from Children's Hospital).

      I have no doubt that they redacted the page because, as was pointed out, the language was awkward -- and not because they "got caught" doing something.

  • ...but wrong.

    They say file sharing is bad, mmmkay? Don't do it. They provide examples of what may land you in hot water. One of those was running an unsecured wireless network, which you will be on the hook for: the cheerleader defence does not work!

    It's actually good advice. They're not saying "using wifi is a sign of infringement", and no-one with half a clue would dream it said that.

    But hey, sensationalist journalism is obviously more important than accuracy or a sound understanding of the basi

  • I've looked at both the pages linked in TFA (Yes, I know - nobody actually reads TFA anymore), and the actual BC.edu site does NOT state anything about using a wireless router being a copyright infringement. The screenshot on the techdirt site looks genuine enough, so either somebody has modified the screenshot to try and make the college look bad, or Boston College has already realised that it was a bit silly and modified it. Either way... they are quite right to warn students as they (the college) will

  • The story characterizes the Boston College webpage content as providing "a list of what might be called 'you might be a copyright infringer if...'. But that is being far, far too kind. If you actually look at the content as displayed in the article, you will see that what is being offered is a list of examples of actual infringing activities, labeled as such ("Common Examples of Copyright Infringement"). Thus the inclusion of possession of a wireless router in the list is not just an error regarding what co

  • Once the idea of intellectual "property" is accepted, and the idea that Prohibition 3: The Final Chapter is the solution to the "crime" of "stealing" non-existent objects (along with the completely locked down police state to enforce it), then what's the big deal about making up thousands more little lies to bolster the idiocy? We gave up the right to intellectual honesty once we gave in on the big lies. Prepare for a century of madness and armored police kicking your door in, shooting your dogs, and feelin

  • It's discomforting to note that in the intro to this article, using file sharing programs and exchanging MP3's are casually referred to as activities that indicate copyright infringement. These actions are not in any way copyright violations.

    Let's not allow the Copyright-holding criminals to define computer culture and misrepresent useful and lawful activity as criminal.

  • Seriously, this is 2011. WiFi in dorms was standard by the middle of last decade. Heck, I just installed a mesh in an on-campus residence last week (new building). It cost about $1500 to cover a 26-bedroom facility, including the managed gigabit PoE switch.

    Gimme a shout, BC, I'm about two hours away.

  • Academic luddites (read non-IT people), much like corporate luddites, will do what other people tell them to in regards to pretty much everything technology.

    In this case, there is a very good chance that the MPAA or RIAA or some other anti-freedom group gave Boston a list of signs of illegal downloading among college students. Wireless routers would be at or near the top of this list. Why? Anything that supports networking obviously also supporting pirating songs.

    It's like the Java Bear hoax e-mail [symantec.com]. If

  • Yes, just using a wireless router. Not using it for anything. But just using such a router is considered a sign of infringement.

    That (mis)use of words hurts me inside.

  • The BC web page has already been modified to remove the entry about wireless routers. Another form of Slashdot effect?

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